Collecting The Good Stuff, 'Liquid Gold' Colostrum
What is Colostrum?
Colostrum is the very first rich milk type substance your body produces whilst pregnant. You are usually able to express from around 16-weeks of pregnancy. Colostrum is generally a sticky substance, that is golden yellow in colour. It is packed with nutrients and antibodies which help protect your baby from illness.
Why is it referred to as 'liquid gold'?
It is known as 'liquid gold' as it has many nutritional benefits for the baby. It can help the baby pass early poops and is full of antibodies that can help protect your newborn from infections. It can also help to prevent or treat conditions such as Jaundice and regulate blood sugar levels. Sometimes babies have difficulty breastfeeding in the first few days and so being able to provide them with colostrum will help provide a perfect food for your baby.
How do you express the colostrum?
- First of all, you will need a 1ml syringe for each time you want to collect the colostrum and a label so that you can write the date of when you collected the colostrum.
- It might help to have a warm bath or shower so that you can be warm and relaxed.
- Now, wash your hands and begin to massage your breasts before expressing as this will help milk flow.
- Hand express from each breast, try to limit your pain and discomfort and please stop altogether if you are experiencing discomfort. Expect to see small droplets or drips of colostrum and collect using a syringe. If you find this difficult, express into a small, clean cup and then draw the colostrum into the syringe. Aim to catch every drop (as remember colostrum really is precious)!
- Do not express more than 3-times a day but you can use the same syringe to collect colostrum in one day. Keep the syringe you are using in the coolest part of your fridge between collections.
- When you have expressed for the last time that day; seal the syringe, label it with the date and then place into the freezer.
- Once ready to be used, colostrum can be kept safely in the fridge for 48 hours.
Collecting colostrum provides you with a reassuring back-up supply of food for the first few days of your baby's life should it be required. Don't fret though if you don't end up using it, it means your baby is doing well and you have been able to establish breastfeeding early - yay! It also a means of practicing how to express from your breasts and reduces the stress of learning how to do so, should you need to after your baby is born.